Sacramento Republic FC is partnering with World Relief Sacramento to host a soccer tournament for refugees who reside in the Sacramento region. The free event, which will also include a fair with international food and children’s activities, will take place on Saturday, June 8, at Papa Murphy’s Park in Cal Expo.
“We’re proud to partner with World Relief Sacramento to bring back this amazing event for a second year,” said Ben Gumpert, Republic FC President and COO. “It’s our responsibility as a club to use our platform to help empower and bring together our city, and that includes our newest neighbors.”
“Refugees and other immigrants from throughout the globe have made Sacramento the vibrant city that it is,” said Kerry Ham, Office Director of World Relief Sacramento. “We are grateful for Sacramento Republic FC’s partnership and investment in this event which brings together athletes, businesses, city officials, and community groups, reflecting our community’s unparalleled love for and willingness to welcome immigrants and refugees.”
The second-annual tournament will give over 150 refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Central America and Ukraine the opportunity to play at the home stadium of Sacramento Republic FC. Games will kick off at 8:30 a.m. and the event goes through 4 p.m., with programming breaks in between that include a kids activity on the pitch and a talk with Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
The goal of the event is to generate awareness for Sacramento’s increasing role in assisting the resettlement of refugees from all regions of the world. Over the last four years, the city has welcomed over 10,000 refugees from across the globe, making Sacramento the largest resettlement destination in the United States.
Republic FC has previously had direct connections to the refugee cause. Former SRFC forward Mawolo “Gabe” Gissie, who was part of the club’s championship-winning team in 2014, fled his native Liberia after surviving an attack during the country’s civil war in 2003 that killed his sister and uncle. Similarly, former defender Emrah Klimenta and his family left Montenegro when the player was five years old to escape the growing unrest that had led to the breakup of Yugoslavia and civil war.